Deals, Deals Deals: African Fashion Not The Only Sector Boosted At US-Africa Business Forum

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Kenya was a big winner at this week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum in New York, where 29 African heads of state and delegates from 44 African countries joined U.S. President Barack Obama to talk trade.

A new Nairobi office is set to open as a base for mega deals with funding through America’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation. OPIC mobilizes private capital and invests in development projects to advance U.S. foreign policy. The new office — OPIC’s third in Africa — will raise Nairobi’s profile as a hub for investors seeking big-ticket infrastructure deals, Business Daily reported.

Hundreds of CEOs from the U.S. and Africa attended the forum, attracting media from around the world to focus on opportunities for jobs and growth in both regions.

A U.S.-based fashion startup showcasing African designers is just one of the funding deals announced while the world watched. It’s the kind of advertising money can’t buy.

Kupanda Capital, a Washington, D.C. investment and advisory firm announced an investment in Oxosi, an online fashion start-up dedicated to African fashion.  Kupanda was established to incubate, capitalize and scale pan-African companies, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Bobby Pittman, managing partner at Kupanda Capital, is listed as a co-founder of New York City-based Oxosi, according to LinkedIn.

Oxosi.com is a social marketplace for new Afromodernist design. “Built by masters of design, technology, and development, the platform targets fashion, art, and, design products uniquely made in Africa along with the curators and influencers that surround them.”

Here’s how Business Of Fashion described Oxosi:

“Stepping into the void left by mass market e-tailers such as Jumia, Konga and Payporte are Nigerian entrepreneurs like New York-based Kolade Adeyemo, who launched Oxosi.com to connect contemporary African brands like Maki Oh, Lisa Folawiyo and Lagos bag designer Zashadu to a global consumer.”

Here are some of the other deals forged at this week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum, according to the U.S. department of Commerce:

Caterpillar expanding its Africa investment

U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc. CEO Doug Oberhelman announced a $1 billion expansion of investment in business, education and skills training across Africa. A leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, Caterpillar makes and sells machinery, financial products and insurance.

Wind power in Senegal

Senegal President Macky Sall joined Lekela Power, a pan-African renewable energy generation platform to announce a $331 million wind power investment in Senegal, financed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Energizing Kenya

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency announced a major investment in Kenya’s power sector in the form of six new grants.

Kenyan infrastructure development

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) signed a letter of interest with the Government of Kenya to support the Nairobi-Mombasa Expressway Project. Several U.S. Government agencies including OPIC also signed a letter of interest to develop this infrastructure project with Bechtel — the largest construction and civil engineering company in the U.S. and the ninth-largest privately owned company in the country.

African leaders spoke at the forum

These are some of the African leaders featured as keynotes speakers or on panels at the 2016 U.S.-Africa Business Forum:

  • Côte d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara.
  • Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
  • Ghana President Jacob Dramani Mahama.
  • Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
  • Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.
  • South Africa President Jacob Zuma.
  • Tunisia President Beji Caid Essebsi.
  • African Union Commission Chairwoman Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.